In 1985, the Mets enhanced their position as a genuine pennant contender. With the addition of catcher Gary Carter in a trade with the Expos, the team accumulated 98 wins and a .605 winning percentage during the season. Still, they wound up with another second-place finish in the National League Eastern Division.
The Mets started out strong in ’85. The team had 12 victories in its 18 April games. In the season opener at Shea Stadium on April 9, Carter hit a home run in the 10th inning to give the Mets a 6-5 win over the Cardinals. The Mets went on to a five-game winning streak and eight wins in their first nine games. On April 28, they came out with a 5-4 triumph over the Pirates in 18 innings at Shea. They ended the month with a 4-1 win over the Astros at Shea on April 30 and tied with the Cubs for first place in the division.
The Mets continued to play well in May. They had a 15-10 record for the month to go 11 games above the .500 mark on the season. From May 5 to May 12, the Mets won six games in a row. The team split a pair of two-game series at Atlanta and Houston before a 3-2 victory over the Giants in 12 innings at Shea on May 17. At Shea on May 19, they recorded another 3-2 triumph over San Francisco. The Mets followed up a four-game losing streak with four straight wins from May 26 to May 30. They were at the top of the N. L. East at month’s end, one-half game ahead of the Cubs.
The Mets suffered a downfall in June. The team chalked up only 11 wins in its 29 games during the month. To begin June, the Mets won three of five to conclude a west coast trip. They followed up with three losses in four games against the Cardinals at Shea. From June 10 to June 16, the Mets had one win during a seven-game road trip to Philadelphia and Montreal. The team swept a four-game series against the Cubs at Shea from June 17 to June 20. The Mets ended June with five straight defeats at Chicago and St. Louis. They were sitting fourth in the division behind the Cardinals, Expos and Cubs.
In July, the Mets made a solid turnaround. They won 21 times and had only seven defeats for the month. At Atlanta on July 4, the Mets won their third straight game with an exhausting 16-13 triumph over the Braves in 19 innings. The team won its ninth in a row by defeating the Reds, 2-1, at Cincinnati on July 10. From July 12 to July 14, the Mets won three consecutive games at Houston. At Shea on July 20 and July 21, the team scored a total of 31 runs in 16-4 and 15-10 wins over the Braves. They won three times against the Astros from August 25 to August 27. The Mets closed out July by sweeping the Expos in a three-game series at Shea from July 29 to July 31. The team had moved up second place, two games behind the division-leading Cardinals.
The Mets kept up their winning ways in August with a 17-11 won-lost record. From August 3 to August 5, the team won three straight games at Chicago before a two-day players strike occurred. After the temporary walkout, the Mets won six in a row and vaulted into first place. Against the Giants on August 20, Dwight Gooden struck out 16 batters in a 3-0 Mets win at Shea. Gooden recorded his 20th win of the season five days later at Shea in a 9-3 Mets victory over the Padres. The Mets lost four of their last five August games to close out the month. Their standings position hadn’t changed from a month earlier as they remained two games in back of St. Louis and in second place.
In September, the Mets made a valid run in the division race. They recorded 19 wins while losing only nine times. To start the month, the Mets completed a west coast trip with six wins in seven games. Tied with the Cardinals atop the division, they won two of three against the Redbirds at Shea from September 10 to September 12 to enter first place alone. The Mets won three of four against the Phillies and Cubs at Shea between September 16 and September 19. At Shea on September 21, Gooden hit his first major league home run in a 12-1 Mets victory over the Pirates. The Mets concluded September with five wins in seven games at Philadelphia, Chicago and Pittsburgh. The team had a 95-61 record and stood three games behind the Cardinals.
The Mets began October with a critical series in the National League East race. They had three games at St. Louis that were likely to decide the division champion. On October 1, the Mets came up with a 1-0 victory over the Cardinals on Darryl Strawberry’s home run in the 11th inning. Gooden pitched a complete game for his 24th win and a 5-2 Mets triumph one night later. Trailing the Cards by one game, the Mets dropped the series finale, 4-3, on October 3. The team eventually ended the season three games behind the Cards.
- Gooden was named the National League Cy Young Award Winner
- Carter won a National League Silver Slugger Award
- Keith Hernandez won a National League Gold Glove Award